Today's Crawfordjohn is a quiet hamlet that could define the term off the beaten track. Which is a little ironic because although the village has always been a long way from anywhere else, until the 1800s it was the focus of the road network covering the wider area and a very busy place indeed.
Crawfordjohn has always seemed a little different: resulting in the early quotation "Out of the world and into Crawfordjohn". In many ways it can be seen as a classic example of a settlement increasingly bypassed and sidelined by transport developments and by history.
In 1750 the village was served by five roads and was home to a number of inns and other services for the many travellers arriving here en route to somewhere else. In the 1800s a metalled road was built to link Abington with Douglas via Red Moss. As a result the direct track north from Crawfordjohn to Douglas fell into disuse while that to Abington also diminished in importance.
Wider developments in the road network led to the decrease in importance of the road south to Leadhills and Crawfordjohn was left, as it is today, sitting astride a minor B road linking Sanquhar with Clydesdale.
In due course the road from Abington via Red Moss became the main A74, leaving Crawfordjohn just two miles off one of Scotland's most important routes. But when a new M74 motorway was built in the 1990s, the old A74 became the beautifully wide but nearly deserted B7078, and Crawfordjohn's removal from the mainstream of Scotland's transport links was complete.
While this process may not have been welcomed by those running or depending on businesses in the village, it has made Crawfordjohn into an exceptionally quiet and attractive place to visit, well worth the minor effort you need to make to get here.
Today's village has just one inn, the Colebrook Arms. It is also home to a Primary School. Behind the pub is the Old Parish Church. Today this is home to the Crawfordjohn Heritage Venture.
Inside you find exhibits of the area's agricultural past, or can trace family roots using the historical records held here. During the Summer demonstrations take place of rural crafts like spinning, basket making and the production of horn handled walking sticks.
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